Truth-Telling And Mormonism

Truth-Telling And Mormonism This session features two reflections on the issue of Mormon truth-telling. Scot Denhalter’s presentation focuses on the musings of Princeton moral philosopher Henry G. Frankfurt about a quality of misrepresentation that falls on the continuum between telling the truth and lying (somewhere just short of a lie), which he names “bullshit.” Denhalter asks if this type of discourse exists in Mormon culture and, if so, to what extent? Is there a different type of it in Mormonism than is found elsewhere? Does the Church employ social mechanisms that increase or decrease the incidence of “b.s.” in Mormon culture? Ryan Wimmer explores a religious principle, taqiyah, that Shi’a Muslims use as a means to protect their faith. Taqiyah means to “safeguard or defend” as well as “to fear” (as in the sense of being pious) and allows members of the faith to be untruthful when their life or religious faith is in danger. Wimmer argues that a similar principle exists in Mormonism, though it’s unnamed and has yet to achieve a recognized status as an aid to faith. He asks, “Should it?”

Scot Denhalter, M.A.